Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Man in the Maze

My roommate got back from Santa Fe, New Mexico on Monday and she brought me two beautiful things.

The first:

A postcard of one of Georgia O'Keefe's purple petunias.

And the second was a small black stone with a labyrinth on it. (The camera's still not working, so you get an image from the web.)

The symbol is "the man in the maze" and this is the first time I've seen it, but I am no stranger to labyrinths. They are one of the central images in my life and are very important to me. I love how true they are to life, how the path turns and twists ridiculously, but alway the center is there, is constant. In this little rough patch I'm having, I wanted to burst into tears and thank my friend for thinking of me, for knowing that what I need most right now is a small stone to hold on to, to remind me of the center that is hope, that is peace, that is always there even when I am turned around. I just need to keep walking. God is there.

I am a man in the maze, but I have the prayer shawl that was crocheted for me to bind myself up in and a small stone to hold close to my heart. I want to keep these little reminders with me always. They help me feel safe in this out of control world. They remind me that there is a pattern and a center and real, tangible, love.


Some days sleeping is underrated.

Insomnia attack this evening, and so I sit up late knitting on the baby blanket. I taught myself how to purl continental style as opposed to the English style that I usually use (check out which hand the yarn is in, that's the difference). I was ridiculously proud of myself for this. Maybe I'll show off tomorrow at knitting.

On my "insomnia": it tends to hit the most on days that were not particularly good. I wonder if it's some kind of protection for the next day; maybe if I stay up late I'll sleep in and miss most of a bad day tomorrow. Maybe it's just that bad days create panic and panic makes me tense and tension keeps me from sleeping.

At any rate, "Murphy Brown" is on the television, which tells me it must be very late indeed and Roxie has gone to bed on her own. It's actually Wednesday. I am going to go sleep a bit, if I can. Maybe I can miss most of tomorrow. :-) (No knitting until 6:30!)

I am reminded of the line of poetry that has stuck with me the longest. I don't even remember what poem it is from, but we read it in my first "Intro to Poetry" class. The line, which in and of itself is perhaps short of brilliant, comes up all the time in my head. This is a reflection on me, I'm sure. It was in a poem about the beauty of spending a day in a hammock. The poem seemed joyful and then we get to the last line, where the poet should reflect on the beauty of the ocean, or the way the wind whips across his face, but instead: "I have wasted my life."

Indeed. I hope to waste mine, too, if only sleep would come. (Maybe if I had a hammock?)

Monday, May 28, 2007

Hopeful Memorial Day to You

In light of recent news, I just can't bring myself to post a "Happy Memorial Day" message. But I'm not giving up to despair and sadness today, either, as I look pictures and listen to the stories of those who have died. So, I'm trying to stick to my guns and be hopeful, because hope is all we have.

In honor of today, I'm doing a blog first and posting a personal poem that I wrote a week ago today. It has knitting and soldiers in it, so I feel it's appropriate for the blog and for this thoughtful day.

And if you get a chance today, stop by National Public Radio's The Toll of War page to get some perspective on this war.



he said:
“and there is war everywhere anyway, why worry about it. It’s so far away, Sweetheart.”

as i sit and knit i am connected (through my tiny needles,
my even stitches)
to my spirit-grandmothers
they were handed spun cotton,
asked to knit it together into strips
so that wounds could be bound
bleeding stopped
men healed
but i knit alone
i knit warm socks in hot weather
(they will stay here
wrap around feet
wear through and get thrown away
they won’t heal)
i knit for frivolity
they knit with purpose

and what is this war anyway
i read the news 39 minutes ago
7 US Soldiers Killed
but what do i know of them
they hurt
not me
and like he said
the war is everywhere

he said
it doesn’t matter
what will your pain do
what a useless thing to be
a Pacifist
how stupid
we all fight wars
if a man broke into my house, he said
I’d kill him dead
I’d shoot him
(he keeps a gun under the mattress, just within reach)
i sat quiet.

i just knit.

but what is dead
isn’t it important?
7 men gone
their bodies cold and turning grey
and me
here knitting

not even a sock could warm them
not even a bandage could fix them now

Sunday, May 27, 2007

Sunday's Post is for Poetry

I'm going to memorize a poem a week, starting now. I think that we don't have enough poetry in our society, and the best poetry is poetry that is known by heart. For this first week, a poem by Mary Oliver from her book Dream Work published by Atlantic Monthly Press:

Wild Geese

You do not have to be good.
You do not have to walk on your knees
for a hundred miles through the desert repenting.
You only have to let the soft animal of your body
love what it loves.
Tell me about despair, yours, and I will tell you mine.
Meanwhile the world goes on.
Meanwhile the sun and the clear pebbles of the rain
are moving across the landscapes,
over the prairies and the deep trees,
the mountains and the rivers.
Meanwhile the wild geese, high in the clean blue air,
are heading home again.
Whoever you are, no matter how lonely,
the world offers itself to your imagination,
calls to you like the wild geese, harsh and exciting —
over and over announcing your place
in the family of things.

Saturday, May 26, 2007

In a Funk (and teeny-tiny needles)

I'm in a funk today... just kind of angry at the world in general, I think, and at the lack of interviews in my unnecessarily slow-going job search in particular and also the fact that there are people dying across the world and I'm upset by nothing really important... and so I sat down to get a little stress-release knitting in. This is not the right time to work on the sweater for my pregnant friend or even the cable socks that are now late for another friend's birthday. There is a time for stress-full knitting, but this is not it.

But I surprised myself with the kind of knitting that I wanted to do. I pulled a little ball of left-over sock yarn out of the stash, grabbed some #2s and cast on for a 3 by 3 cable. I think it might turn into a wrist bracelet or somesuch if I can find pretty buttons. I am just really shocked that my stressed state lent itself toward teeny yarn and teeny needles and a cable, not toward big yarn, big needles, and garter stitch. Am I becoming more tightly wound myself?

Or maybe I just wanted something that wasn't so... simple. Life is too complicated. Let's throw in some tight knitting and straighten things out a bit.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007


This is the most beautiful thing I have ever seen:

(And I know, three posts in one day after a week and a half of NOTHING!)

Radio Stations

On a non-knitting note:

I changed the #3 radio station today, and it seemed like it might be a bit significant.

#1 is National Public Radio. But only in the mornings and the evenings. During the day it's the local college's classical music station. I like classical, but it's not really driving-around-the-town type music. So from 7-8 in the morning and 4-6 at night and sometimes on Saturday, this is my first choice.

#2, #4, #5 are all oldies stations. I flip through them depending on the song. There's nothing like groovin' to sixties music with the windows down or having rock blaring over my little Focus speakers and turning heads (inside, I have exhibitionist tendencies...).

#6 is my one "modern" station, for those weak moments when I succumb to the pop culture. I tend not to blare that one.

But #3, this was the loner Christian station that I listened to. Christian rock. Or it used to be. I liked it, it was fun to occaissionally jam along. But not so much anymore. It seems that they are constantly on pledge drive, and a few months ago I heard the host say "if you want God to bless your life, you've got to send us your money" or something along those lines and I haven't been able to turn on the channel since. I felt betrayed, used, for my faith. I don't believe that my not pledging to the station will keep God from "blessing my life." Now I know that this is not what the man said, but it's the other side of the coin and it is just close enough to give me pause. I felt guilty about changing the station, though, felt as if I was abandoning my always-a-bit-unsteady faith (let's be honest here) and kept thinking maybe I could return to the joyful days when I could listen to one or two songs at a time happily before changing the station for something a little less saccharine. But no, not so much. It just sat there, and the poor button never got pushed.

So today, I changed it. The local college has an alternative radio station that plays all kinds of music-- weird, interesting music that I hadn't given a chance to until recently. But I like it. It makes me laugh sometimes, and almost always makes me think, even if it is a bit odd.

And to me, my faith is about thinking. So I am not feeling guilty for changing my station. I am branching out, thinking more, and just wanted to explore here the difference in where a button takes you can make. #3, welcome back.

Knit Wit

I was called this today by a friend. Funnily enough, I wasn't insulted...

Here's a little update on a few of my projects. My camera is TOTALLY irritating, and won't let me take more than a few pictures before it says it's out of battery (I don't believe it; I just put in a new battery...), so here are the few I squeezed out before it quit on me:

First, the "Random Hearts" sweater revisited as a shrug (sometimes things just aren't meant to be).

Then, a newly cast-on baby-blanket in blue and brown boucle.

The first HP sock is finished, and the second is started. (I know I need a higher contrast background, but now the camera won't turn on. Sorry.)

And a FINISHED OBJECT on the way to its new owner. I'll write all about it when it gets there and gets opened.

There is another pair of socks on the needles that are being finished as quickly as possible for a friend's birthday this Thursday (I'm sure I won't make it, but maybe by next week). They are my first men's socks. The camera went kaput before I got to these.

I have painted, too:

So that's my little update. I'm out looking for jobs. Maybe when I find one I'll have more time to post (ha).

Monday, May 14, 2007

Thanks, Moms

I wanted to be sure and express here my gratitude to my two moms.

The first, for giving me life and always always being on my side. My mother, whom I love oh-so-dearly and who is always there. I thank you for loving-me-no-matter-what and for helping with all those papers and for letting me call you at 4 a.m. and for calling me at 7 to make sure I'm awake and for all the little things that you did like making me breakfast every morning and tickling my toes to get me out of bed and for sitting outside in the garden reading books to me. Thanks for teaching me about books and the importance of staying grounded.

The second, for marrying my dad even though he had two little girls. My step-mother, whom I love oh-so-dearly and who is always there, too. I thank you for loving-me-no-matter-what (really) and for baking cookies with me and for telling me it's ok to cry even when you don't know why and for taking me to all the exciting places I never would have known about and for teaching me to love animals and for giving me the right to call myself your daughter even though you didn't have to. Thanks for teaching me about dreams and the importance of taking off with my wings.

I owe myself to these two strong women. I couldn't have picked better. I am so lucky.

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Updates again

I need to work on my titles... lack of creativity there.

Here are the start of the socks for my Hogwarts Swap friend. I reallly like them, and it's going fast. You should see the color! (Sorry I can't show you, I'm keeping that yarn secret...)

And I also finished this self-portrait today:

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Socks for Others Update

1. Hogwarts Sock Swap: I've picked my yarn AND my pattern. Whoo-hoo!
Yarn: Can't tell you, sorry. Well, I've told my secret pal, and I don't want her to accidently stumble upon my blog. But I will say that it is in a bag adrift somewhere and it upsets me quite a lot that I am missing two pairs of socks-in-progress and their yarn, two skeins of this mystery yarn, and my sketchbook. I'm stifling the panic because I really don't feel good and I don't think that I can extend the energy to turn the house upside down right now. It has to be somewhere. Has to be.
Pattern: Hello Yarn's Cable Twist Socks. I'm excited.

2. Sockapalooza: My PP (palooza pal) likes lots of color, so I am in search of a fancy yarn. I saw the comment that Jayne left on my blog yesterday about her Etsy Shop and there are somethings over there that I'm interested in... (Hi Jayne! Thanks for the comment with your shameless plug! *wink*) And I do have a pattern chosen, too. Razor Shell Socks from the Online Store. I was impressed by a fellow Hogwart's Swap friend, Blackrayne, and her beautiful rendition of this pattern. This is her first sock!!! My first socks were, well, they went to my mom, so it doesn't really matter how they were, but they were definitely not this beautiful! Blackrayne has dyed the yarn herself and these are for her swap partner. But then, I also might make these Lacy Scallops socks. What do you all think? Which is better?

3. And I wanted to share a little listing of my fave sock pattern sites. Here, here and here are some great pattern directories. And a few of my favorite patterns-to-try from my bookmark list: Mirabella socks, Eyelet Cable Socks, Lombard Street Socks, Aran Braid Socks, Basic Cabled Socks and Twinkle Toes.

Now I'm off to find an antihistamine/decongestant before my head explodes.

Hooray for Loozers!

Thanks for all the comments!

I'm glad I was right about the "secretness." I thought this, but I kept seeing everyone's comments and I just wondered... I, too, have a "secret identity" where I have already e-mailed by paloozerpal (PP?). I still haven't heard from mine, though. I hope she likes purple, because I REALLY REALLY do.


Question for my Fellow Sock-a-pa-loozers

So after we broke blogger together my sockapalooza friends and I are now doing something I don't fully understand called the knit pligg where we can post urls and talk to each other.


SO, I'm giving it a try with this little shout out. Forgive me if I am a bit odd... this is my first.

But I did have a question, too. We are supposed to be secret pals, right? Just checking. Secret was my understanding, but I'm not always the brightest crayon in the box, so, yeah...

I'm excited about my pal and her preferences (which just aren't too confining, really) and I'm going to run on now and find some exciting yarn and a pattern. She likes "colorful socks." Hmmm... I like colorful...

If you are a pa-loozer, stop for a sec and say hi. I'd love to meet you. If you're a friend and you're confused by this entry, say hi, too. I'm always a glutton for comments.


Monday, May 07, 2007

Sock Monkey

I am going to make a sock monkey for my friend's little monkey that's due in September. I was doing some researching tonight, and I found two sites with free patterns: The original - a vintage sock monkey pattern, and an exciting modern one. (They're pretty much the same.) And then there's the Crocheted Sock Monkey Bookmark and Sock Monkey Hat. I'm especially intrigued by the hat. I can see the whole family in one: sock monkey mom, sock monkey dad, sock monkey baby... How cute is that?

My friend, an interior designer, is making her entire baby room a sock monkey theme. I'm so excited to see it and the art that she is creating for the walls. I have to finish that dog painting so I can get into the "monkey business," too. (I know, I know, that was TERRIBLE.)

I'm watching two dogs tonight, a doberdog (not my doberdog) and a greyhound. It's thunderstorming outside and the doberdog is neurotic, so I actually have her in my lap right now. She's shaking, poor thing. The thunder seems to be subsiding though, so maybe she'll be able to relax soon.

So after my proclamation earlier today that I had too many projects, here is my happy announcement that I'm about to start another. But it's sewing not knitting... that's different, right?

Another thing about this baby being a boy. We've been discussing the lack of creative boy clothing. Why is that? My new mission is to clothe my friend's baby in just as adorable a way as any foofy pink girl. Off to investigate...

(Mom if you're reading this, get off the computer and go see if the record player works. I WAAAAAAAANNNNNNNT it! Simon and Garfunkle are calling to me from their album cases. They need me. I need them. I need a working record player.)


I've been so upset because my camera didn't work that I haven't been posting. But here, at last, I turned it on and it worked! Lest I lose the moment, I dragged my rear off the couch (to the kitchen, grabbing a snack on the way...) and took some photos.

I was inspired by Julia's honesty yesterday about her varied knitting projects, and I decided to post a few of the "closet projects" myself. The stash secrets. So here they are.

First, "Shrug It Off," a set of, well basically, sleeves, that my friend Rebecca commissioned. The pattern was designed by Carlynn at Shaggy Sheep, and it's fun and easy and repetitive and I'm embarrassed by the number of times I've had to rip simply because I miscounted:

It's almost completely done. Don't know why I never listed it as "on the needles" except that I'm embarrassed by the sheer number of projects I have going on right now. Here it is again, with my feet in the picture. I'm in my pajamas at 3:30 in the afternoon because I am SICK SICK SICK with a sinus infection.

And I'm not the only one. Here is Roxie:

What you can't see in the pic is that she is chewing a hole in her leg. That's right. A hole. In her leg. She chewed. Created it herself, actually. Apparently she might be a disturbed doggy. She has a vet appointment in about 30 minutes. Because she's OCD and there's nothing wrong with her but her own insanity. Much like me. She might have to get doggy antidepressants.

But back to the projects. Here's another:

It's an afghan for my friend who's getting married soon. Hopefully it will be finished before her first anniversary. There are going to be 36 squares, arranged in a not-so-random pattern. Now there are 1.5 squares. It's my mindless knitting project.

And a finished object! The Mason-Dixon Dishcloth. It was fun and simple and finished quickly. Made me feel productive (a dangerous thing).

And the most embarrassing thing ever? Here is my project for the Red Sweater Knit-Along. TV decoration:

Good thing there's no time limit, eh? I'm still frustrated with having to rip half of it out. Is it wrong to carry this sort of grudge against your knitting?

The worst part about this whole thing was having to pull all of this knitting out, and not finding it all. I am now missing my sketchbook and two sock projects, and I am highly HIGHLY distressed about it. So there should be more pictures, and there are not. I'm going to ransack the house as soon as I am feeling better.

On the art front, I am making some progress on Gracie's brother's painting. Bailey:

So those are my confessions for the day. Hope you enjoy!

I promise not to take so long to post anymore. (OK, I can't promise, but I'll try.)